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Could Hergé's characters stand for 'something else'?

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jock123
Moderator
#11 · Posted: 28 Apr 2005 15:42
yamilah
Well, to make it short the very best example is now on tintin.com, which offers a strange matter for reflection... Officially 'Tintin is not a name'
You attach such importance to the utterings of a marketing-department? Of course one can say that Tintin is more than a name - it’s not just a character, it’s a series of comic books (“I was reading a Tintin on the train…”), a style of art (“…his comic looks just like Tintin”), a behaviour (“…in my opinion he went in there like a latter-day Tintin”) - even a weekly magazine! so Tintin is more than a name - it now says a lot to people, in package form. That also applies to the likes of Sherlock Holmes, Tarzan, Mickey Mouse…

Tintin also is a thing - he is the shape of lines, a narrative element, a brand… What is so remarkable? His quiff is the single most recognisable thing about him - I’m sure if you showed the “o” from Garen’s Tintinologist logo on this page that a vast number of people evenin this country would say it was something to do with Tintin… What you are not saying is why this should matter?

he is an ink (i.e. a thing)
Huh? When does “ink” mean “thing”?

I’m going near the “five-pawed” Snowy again only to say that not even you were convinced, and you chose to ignore all the other errors which don’t fit into your pattern. Other than that, I think it’s dead in the water as a topic for discussion…

By definition, esoteric means “intelligible to initiates only”, which seems to fit your theory, such as it is, and I think I use it correctly under the circumstances; I would question your use of “erased” though…

Might be time now to open a book telling about invisible writings?...
Well unless the presses are bathed in invisible ink, I am certain that there is no invisible writing in my Tintin books. I have read many interesting books on cryptography, and have even been given a demonstration of an Enigma machine by Simon Singh, but that isn’t invisible writing, just encoded.

I am also aware of the masses of pseudo-cryptography in such nonsense as the so-called Bible code, and have seen that if you apply a flexible approach and a flexible sense of logic, you can find hidden messages in almost anything.
yamilah
Member
#12 · Posted: 28 Apr 2005 16:41 · Edited by: yamilah
jock123
Of course one can say that Tintin is more than a name

Err... doesn't tintin.com just say Tintin is not a name? ;-)


Err... it's not that I'm not convinced by the 5-legged Snowy... but I happened to notice it afterwards... thus its presence is not absolutely required...

How nice you know Simon Singh! His 'Code Book' was a great help to me. Maybe you could ask him about the invisible writing via objets or via a message hidden in another message? (i.e. steganography, which has nothing to see with the Enigma machine, that used to type scrambled but visible characters).

It would be really wonderful if you could get his e-mail address for me, so I could ask him how come that books which describe codes (operating on words) and ciphers (operating on letters) tell next to nothing about systems operating on syllables, as is the case with ...rebuses.

As far as the 'Bible code' is concerned, I quite agree with you, it is based on too flexible a sense of logic... ;-)
jock123
Moderator
#13 · Posted: 28 Apr 2005 23:20
yamilah
Err... doesn't tintin.com just say Tintin is not a name? ;-)

Yes, but think of the number of times you see “X is not a [insert noun] - it’s a way of life!” It is nothing more than a marketing nonsense... Making mystery out of nothing at all by putting in an inate contradiction occurs all the time!

Unfortunately I don’t know Simon Singh personally, I met him at an event we both attended, but should I run into him again, I will be sure to ask about steganography.

As it stands I still think that the Bible code is nonsense, but I have seen more “evidence” for it than you have given for the hidden meaning in the Tintin canon. As I said, you appear to ignore many items which are just as evident as the few you have indicated, but don’t support your theory.

I have, on my wall in front of me, a poster for a French touring company, with the legend “Le Tour Du Mt Blanc” on it. I’ve done a search and found the image here. I can immediately see that this encodes the message “Let Our Dum(t)b lanc”, which is of course close enough to “Let our dumb blonde” to pass as indisputable. Of course there is the matter of the “t”, but it is a little t, which of course is like little tease... So what is this message then? “Let our dumb blonde - the little tease! - ” what? Well the text is on a spiral, or turn, and the car is heading from right to left, going against the direction of the text, so the implicit statement is return; note also that the text at the top has an arrow pointing to “France”. So the complete message is ““Let our dumb blonde - the little tease! - return to France!”

As it stands, this appears to have as much validity as anything you have offered, and it took me longer to type than it it did to think of it…
Pelaphus
Member
#14 · Posted: 29 Apr 2005 09:59 · Edited by: Pelaphus
Oy vey ist mir, such drama over a non-issue! ;-)

It seems to me that what Yamilah has stumbled over is simply a rhetorical device. Herge is not objectifying his characters -- rather, he's letting the speakers express attitude. Even if you're fond of a pompous opera singer, you might well still refer to her archly as "La Castafiore", because it's a shorthand allusion to her grand diva manner.

In CASTAFIORE EMERALD, "Your precious Bianca" would seem to be the colloquial equivalent of "votre Bianca", in the same way that an exasperated mother would say to her husband about a misbehaving child, "Would you talk to your son, please?" It's obviously THEIR son, but the wife is making a point about responsibility, and distancing herself a little from the problem as if to throw the ball in dad's court.

CASATAFIORE EMERALD let's not forget, is a tale in which La Diva (see?) foists herself upon Marlinspike Hall uninvited. The justifiably exasperated Haddock might well turn to a fawning Calculus and use a phrase whose implication is, "this pain-in-the-ass woman that YOU like so much." (To turn it on myself; my writing style in these posts has sometimes used a kind of academic locution that, when first read by some members, struck them as stuffy or lectury in tone [never my intent!]. It would not have been surprising, therefore, if a familiar reader scanning the abstract of recent posts, groaned and said, "Uh oh. More windbaggery from Le Pelaphus!" Granting me a title, but one which, in the context, is hardly flattering -- a wittier and more biting way of saying "that pompous poster.")

And I'm willing to bet that the other examples of articles thus applied by Herge denote similar contexts of attitude.

I'm much more intrigued, though, in the notion that Haddock and Tintin, speaking in French, use formal rather than familiar address with each other. I can think of several after-the-fact rationales, but I wonder if it wasn't merely a quirk of style. In the old KRAZY KAT comic strips of George Herriman (a Herge early-contemporary, by the way), all involved referred to Krazy as "he" and "him" when in all behavioral aspects, including Krazy's infatuation with the bully mouse Ignatz, the character was female. (So much so that in the 1960s animated shorts -- available on DVD at last, by the way, and worth the purchase -- the pronouns were simply feminized.) Herge's choice here may, as well, be a flourish that amused him for some personal reason. (Actually, as I think on it, just about every great strip cartoonist who develops humorous or "non-realism" continuing characters, imbues the work with several signature idiosyncrasies, private jokes and/or motifs. It's part of what being a master cartoonist is about, and it seems to me provides the kind of detail fans love to notice. Like counting the hidden "Nina"s in a Hirschfeld.)
jock123
Moderator
#15 · Posted: 29 Apr 2005 11:52
Pelaphus
It seems to me that what Yamilah has stumbled over is simply a rhetorical device.
Very succinctly put, and a point well made! I buy that! Chapeau to le Pelaphus!

And a good example from Herriman; I like your description of developing an idiosyncratic style, possibly even just for personal amusement.
yamilah
Member
#16 · Posted: 29 Apr 2005 12:00 · Edited by: yamilah
jock123

"X is not a [insert noun] - it's a way of life!" (...) a marketing nonsense...

Well 'Tintin is not a name' might 'look' like marketing, but his asserted synonymy with his quiff only after the latter has been tilted by his car's acceleration looks rather complicated regarding a children's book, and might even be counterproductive...
There is something else into it, imho... (see 'Nickname' thread).

"Le Tour Du Mt Blanc" (...) encodes the message "Let Our Dum(t)b lanc"

Well I bet you Simon Singh would just answer you that five syllables aren't enough for decoding, if the reader ignores the key and has to find it...
If your message is short, then you could repeat it in different ways, for instance by writing a book and sprinkling it with translations of your message into different languages but providing them with 'distorted' translations, or by illustrating your book with various rebuses legible in various languages, or by mixing them up in the way of the 'Europanto' (please Google), or by combining these processes together, etc... See?

Conceiving invisible writing actually takes much more time than typing it... ;-)


Pelaphus

It seems to me that what Yamilah has stumbled over is simply a rhetorical device.

Yes, if you dare call 'la cryptographie oulipienne' a 'rhetorical device'... (search please).

Nice to learn "Your precious Bianca" is a 'colloquial' equivalent of the original "Votre Bianca"...

Haddock and Tintin, speaking in French, use formal rather than familiar address with each other

Yes, they say 'vous' to each other, but still it happens Haddock addresses Tintin with an overjoyed, non-disparaging 'tu'...
Tournesol (Calculus) does it sometimes too...
jock123
Moderator
#17 · Posted: 29 Apr 2005 12:15 · Edited by: jock123
yamilah
Conceiving invisible writing actually takes much more time than typing it... ;-)
Possibly, but not necessarily, and no example you have offered shows that it has to be so; until you do, it is less credible than the Bible code…

I only posit the poster for illustration, as you have only proffered one frame of one book; I don’t doubt that I could find twenty more “messages” in twenty more posters - I might even be able to find the same message in twenty different posters for that matter, but frankly I don’t think it is worth the effort…
yamilah
Member
#18 · Posted: 29 Apr 2005 18:58 · Edited by: yamilah
jock123

you only proffered one frame of one book

Thanks jock123 for your answer, but I don't think you are really very serious... You pretend to forget the other frames I quoted, all of them strange enough to offer some matter for reflection...

Don't expect to understand everything at the time, nor even to see anything if you keep on mimiking some funny Tintin specialists who prefer ignore Tintin's odd facts and coincidences, but strangely love to overinterpret plain and patent facts such as Marlinspike Hall's crest, a simple fish for any normal reader... (see 'coat of arms' thread).


frankly I don't think it is worth the effort...

Well, it only depends on the level of one's interest in Tintin...
Jyrki21
Member
#19 · Posted: 29 Apr 2005 20:15 · Edited by: Jyrki21
Oy vey ist mir, such drama over a non-issue! ;-)

Pelaphus, are you one of my people?? :)

I'm much more intrigued, though, in the notion that Haddock and Tintin, speaking in French, use formal rather than familiar address with each other. I can think of several after-the-fact rationales, but I wonder if it wasn't merely a quirk of style.

In all three languages I can comprehend Tintin -- English, French and Hebrew -- the speaking style of all the characters is rather flowery, almost to the point of being unrealistic. I love it, because (as noted in another thread) my vocabulary improved in all three of these languages as a result. I think, though, that importing a certain formality of speech this way almost necessarily leads to 'vousvoying' one another. To the French ear, a more circumlocutory way of expressing oneself (irony intended) combined with an act of "tutoying" might come off -- and this is just a guess -- with a similar effect as, "E=mc2, y'all!" Just seems wrong...
jock123
Moderator
#20 · Posted: 29 Apr 2005 20:51 · Edited by: jock123
yamilah
I don't think you are really very serious...
I take things very seriously, as it happens, but as I said, I can't see that anything you have said is any more serious than the Bible code proponents.

You pretend to forget the other frames I quoted, all of them strange enough to offer some matter for reflection...
No, I remember the one frame you have given as an example of how things are encoded. Scarcely enough to build an interest upon.

You have mentioned many other frames, that you find in some way curious, but I can't recall a single one which merited extended reflection, or held even a hint of mystery.

Don't expect to understand everything at the time, nor even to see anything if you keep on mimiking some funny Tintin specialists who prefer ignore Tintin's odd facts and coincidences

I feel quite able to make my own way without mimicking anyone, thank you. Only you are seeing these things as "odd facts" or "coincidences"...

but strangely love to overinterpret plain and patent facts (such as Marlinspike Hall crest, a simple fish for any normal reader)...

I don't understand your point - surely you are the one who is overinterpreting facts that are plain??

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